Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Writing Clutter

I had dinner with a couple of writer friends last night - Jan Bengree and Gladys Mary Coles. The topic of clutter came up; specifically writing clutter and its tendency to spread around the place and take over. Each of my projects requires information and the best and most satisfying way of accruing this is by buying books. I do tend to buy them rather than borrow them because I usually find I need them long term.

Since over the last couple of years I have been involved in four separate projects - two of which I have had to abandon - I now have four large crates of books I feel compelled to keep. In addition there are the books I buy for pleasure and general instruction - these are generally kept to hand on the bookshelves behind me because I find I sometimes need to go back to refer to them. For instance Martin Amis's MONEY I enjoyed so much I am using that voice as an inspiration for one of the voices in my book. It is not at all the same - but I love its combination of selfishness, hedonism and strange vulnerability.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shouldn't be glad that someone else suffers from the same problem that I do, but I'm sorry, I find it really reassuring. Academic writing demands just as much clutter as fiction writing let me assure you.

Wed Dec 12, 09:19:00 am  
Blogger Jan said...

And very pleasant it was too, Clare.
You may have material clutter but your mind is one of the clearest most uncluttered I know..

Wed Dec 12, 10:40:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Table Talk I am sure that academic writing is just as demading on house space - and I too find it reassuring that I do not 'suffer' in this alone!

Oh thank you Jan, that is very kind - but if you could only see inside. My mind is need of a house clearance firm and a large skip.

Wed Dec 12, 10:52:00 pm  
Blogger JL said...

Oh man, the clutter when writing or, in my case, drawing a novel. What a mess.

I've got a photograph of one book-in-progress around here somewhere... it deserves posting.

And the books. Some of which are irreplaceable... I'm hoping I NEVER have to move again.

Thu Dec 13, 05:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drawing a novel, JL - now that sounds interesting!

Yes the book-in-progress is an ugly sprawling monster in many ways, I find. I'd like to see that picture.

Thu Dec 13, 09:21:00 pm  
Blogger Lenard Neal said...

Stop by the blog and hit 'It Looks Like This'...

Fri Dec 14, 03:34:00 am  
Blogger Jennifer Sardam said...

I can definitely understand that. I too am a writer, and I used to suffer from so many books crowding my space. My only solution? A cross-country move, when I made the drive from Wyoming to Washington DC and could only take what would fit into my car and leave the rest in storage. Then, little by little, my best friend shipped things to me, but since books are so heavy and expensive, I had to part with most of them; I couldn't afford to move myself, since the company's relocation advance only covered me living until the paychecks began to hit; so that was bye-bye books.

Mon Dec 24, 04:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HC: Well, that sounds like it could have been quite a painful solution - but maybe worth it in the long run. In this household we have a terrible tendency to accumulate so much stuff that it becomes difficult to move. I am sure I need to be barbaric but it is difficult to summon the determination...

Mon Dec 24, 07:37:00 pm  

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